A mix of experienced and new paratriathlon talent was on display as 10 British titles and multiple medals were awarded at the 2022 British Paratriathlon Championships on Saturday (16 July).
Hosted at Eton Dorney during Arctic One’s Tri and Paratri Festival, the London 2012 rowing lake once again provided a stunning setting for what was also the latest event in the British Triathlon Paratri Super Series.
Dave Ellis, guided by Luke Pollard, and Katie Crowhurst, guided by Jess Fullagar, fine-tuned their preparations ahead of representing Team England at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham by winning the British PTVI titles.
Victory in the men’s PTVI race saw Ellis claim another British gold – the fifth of his career – as the pairing added the British title to the world and European golds they won together last year.
Silver went to another pairing building up to race in Birmingham with Rhys Jones and his guide Rhys James finishing second ahead of representing Wales on 31 July. Nat Costigan continued his development with bronze, guided by Oliver Taylor.
On the same weekend 12 months ago, Katie Crowhurst was taking part in her first paratriathlon at Eton Dorney. A year on, Crowhurst is now British champion and in the final stages of preparing to represent Team England at the Commonwealth Games after claiming the women’s PTVI title alongside her guide Jess Fullagar.
Speaking after completing their first race together, Crowhurst said: “It’s amazing to become British champion. It was good practice for Commonwealths because it’s our first race together. It was a good opportunity to work together and figure out what we need to improve on ahead of Birmingham.
Fullagar, who was guiding for the first time, added: “It was really exciting. Everyone has been really friendly and I think we’ve learned a lot. To be able to put a race together was really fun. We had fun out there and to work together was really cool. I’m really looking forward to the next two weeks with Katie as we build-up to Birmingham.”
Tokyo Paralympic bronze medallist Claire Cashmore was one of four athletes to successfully defend their British title.
Cashmore, who is world and European champion in the women’s PTS5, secured her fifth British Paratriathlon Championships gold with victory in the women’s PTS5 ahead of Cheryl Went.
Reflecting on winning another British title, Cashmore said: “To retain my title as British champion is always a cool thing to do, but I really want to see more women taking part in paratriathlon and para sport.
“It was great to get back out there racing, it’s always a really good race at Eton Dorney. Next up is Swansea in a few weeks so it puts me in good stead to know where I’m at and go through the process before the big one in Swansea which I’m really excited to be a part of.”
Michael Salisbury was the winner in the men’s PTS5, claiming back-to-back British titles after finishing ahead of Thomas Barnard and Florian Combe, who claimed silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Sailsbury only returned from racing at his first World Triathlon Para Series event in Montreal earlier in the week, where Finley Jakes won his first WTPS medal.
Jakes was back on the podium at Eton Dorney, this time collecting gold after becoming British champion for the first time in the men’s PTS4.
Off the back of silver in Montreal and then winning the British title, Jakes said: “It felt really good to see how competitive I can be in the international field, so I was using what I learned from that race in Montreal and the race a couple of weeks before in Besancon and applied that here.
“It was a lot better pacing wise on the run and the bike felt a lot better this week so I’m really happy with the result.”
David Jones and Rich McLeod joined Finley Jakes on the podium with Jones finishing second and McLeod in third.
Bret Crossley successfully defended his men’s PTWC title. He again picked up gold in the men’s PTWC ahead of silver medallist Josh Landmann and bronze medallist Jake Woods to cement his position at the top of the Super Series standings in his category.
After a few years away from paratriathlon, Sophie Taylor made a gold medal winning return as she won the women’s PTWC ahead of Super Series leader Claire Danson.
Speaking after becoming British champion for the first time, the now five-time British medallist said: “I really like the venue and, when I saw it, I thought I would come and give it a go. I had a break because I wanted to focus on wheelchair racing but it’s nice to be able to mix it up and have the competition, so I’m really pleased with it.”
The warm conditions at Eton Dorney were certainly very different to the snow and ice Shona Brownlee experienced when she represented ParalympicsGB in Para skiing at the Winter Paralympics earlier this year.
But Brownlee looked just as comfortable across swim, bike, run, albeit a bit shocked when she discovered she was the new British champion, after winning the women’s PTS4. Silver went to Tammy Pullen.
Chris Arthey retained the men’s PTS2 title taking home gold, while Colin Wallace is the new British men’s PTS3 champion, finishing ahead of silver medallist Felix Barrow.
The next race in the British Triathlon Paratri Super Series will be part of Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea event on Saturday 6 August.
To find out more about Volvo 2022 WTPS Swansea, the first standalone World Triathlon Para Series race to be held in Britain, visit the event page here.